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Sven's pre-op arm, showing old plate with no union and bone deposit deformities.

Sven Martin is one of Vital's main photo hit men and a long-time friend. His body has taken some major abuse over the years, and when you play (and work) as hard as he does, you have to pay as hard as he does. The other day Sven started blowing up my phone with some ancient skate photos. That prompted this interview about his recent surgery. Nothing like riding and working with a broken arm for 2 years, right? Sven, we're all wishing you a quick and successful heal-up session. Your photos take us on trips we can only dream about. -gordo

Why are you in a bed with your arm wrapped up sending me old skate photos?

Because I was out cold most of the day under anesthesia, so come 3 a.m. I was wide awake and some of my pain meds were wearing off. I was scrolling through Facebook as a pain distraction trying to pass the time so I could fall asleep again and I found an old South African skater's page with a bunch of old skate pics. Since I know how much you prefer old skate trivia and sawed-off custom surfboard dumpster conversions, I was sending our What's App group (media squids) some pics, to show Duncan [Philpott] and Joe [Bowman] what proper gnar shit we were up to while they were probably still in the womb. I have #moar pics, BTW.

Can you believe the hair?

Was surgery scary?

Yeah, even though it's meant to be straight-forward in the surgeon's opinion, it is scary going in for something planned as you have time to dread it coming up. Usually when I have surgery, it's as a result of an unplanned crash or accident, so I don't have any time to contemplate it.

The hole filled with the bone graft.

Did it hurt? Does it hurt now?

Basically the plate inserted to fix my ulna (forearm) some two years ago became loose and the break never healed properly. I have suffered sporadic days and weeks of pain during periods of heavy use be it photo work, riding or hours of editing. So this surgery was removing old plate, putting a new plate in, doing a bone graft and starting from scratch. It was meant to be a simple 60-min procedure but ended up being 2.5 hours. Apparently I have really hard bones and the screw heads were snapping so they had to use an Easy Out. Basically just like working on your bike. They had to scrape away some bone infection, which is a little worrying. Does it hurt now? Yes. Two days post and I have a four hour doping regimen.

How many times have you shit in the last 4 days?

Not enough.



Bone graft-filled hole in his newly-screwed arm.

By answering the following question, regardless of your answer, you're legally committing to taking it easy during rehab. Do you promise to take it easy during rehab so you can fully recover this time?

Yes. You learn from mistakes. Last time I rode at 7-8 weeks. Did a big heli-drop mission. It was basically too early and resulted in this situation.



What's the hardest part about being busted up?

Well 4 weeks ago I actually fractured my left humerus (shoulder), so that is currently healing and I have pain and limited range of motion. So with both arms out of action, some day-to-day tasks like just getting up or eating are tricky. Never mind other stuff like typing out this interview or sending you old skate photos. It's also hard being back home with the New Zealand Spring turning into a good summer and I've been looking forward to riding and working on the house.


If you didn't have a broken arm in 2014, do you think you could have had a top 5 result at the EWS?

No. Well in Masters yes. :-) But if I never broke my humerus, I was going for a good finish at the Trans Provence.

If you could go back to one riding day in 2014, what day would it be?

Trans Provence, Day 1, Stage 4, Donny Darko and not letting my front wheel drift off the track at 52kph. But as far as riding days go, probably the epic week in Verbier we had this summer. That or maybe the day Jon Cancellier did his ankle ligaments in. #darkcloudcrew



Leave Sven your heckling and healing comments below. And to all New Zealanders, if you see him out on the trail riding or working before he's fully healed, put him in a choke hold and drag him back to his bed.

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